Friday, January 15, 2016

Bloom Day - January 2016

While many of the same plants that were blooming last January are also blooming this January, the blooms are less prolific.  I'm not sure whether this is attributable to our drought, colder temperatures, or a combination of the two factors.

If I were to pick the star of my January 2016 garden, the award would probably go to Arbutus 'Marina'.  Although these trees, along with many others, were trimmed in mid-December, they're still loaded with blooms, which makes the hummingbirds happy.

Blooms are present most of the year but they seem more noticeable when much of the rest of the garden is bloom-free


Another flowering tree, Bauhinia x blakeana, is still loaded with buds but the flowers took a beating from last week's rainstorm so it's not looking its best at the moment.

Battered blooms on what's commonly known as the Hong Kong orchid tree


The same could be said for Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy'.

The airy Gomphrena stems were beaten down by last week's rain and they're nearly impossible to untangle


Many specimens in my burgeoning collection of Grevillea have a smattering of blooms but they seem to be at least a few weeks behind their 2015 bloom cycles.  Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola' (not shown), usually one of the stars of my winter garden, has yet to bloom at all, although it's finally developing buds.

Clockwise from far left: Grevillea 'Superb', G. 'Ned Kelly', G. 'Peaches & Cream, G. 'Pink Midget' and G. alpina x rosmarinifolia


Similarly, the Osteospermum, which generally bloom best in cooler weather, have been slow to get going this year.

From left: Osteospermum ecklonis '3D Berry White', O. 'Blue-eyed Beauty' and O. 'Summertime Sweet Kardinal'


There are plenty of Gazania plants in my garden but relatively few flowers.  The squirrels have developed a taste for them and they disappear almost as soon as they open.

Gazania 'New Day Yellow' (left) and G. 'White Flame' (right)


Nonetheless, there are some reliable bloomers.

Pink and white forms of Argyranthemum frutescens

Calliandra haematocephala (aka pink powder puff)

Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold'  blooms heaviest in cool weather

Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink' also blooms all year but it looks best if cut back severely in the winter - this one is about to get chopped

Lavandula multifida (left) and L. angustifolia 'Super Blue' (right)

Prostrate rosemary


Annuals are stepping in to provide seasonal color, most notably the Iceland poppies and the violas.

Papaver nudicuale

I planted a lot of the small violas from 6-pack plugs this year.  The plants on the left and in the top row are all part of a mix called 'Pandora's Box'.  


My Camellia sansanqua shrubs, which were covered with flowers before the last week's rainstorms, now look sad; however, after a disappointing performance in 2015, things are looking up for Camellia x 'Taylor's Perfection' in 2016.

Camellia x 'Taylor's Perfection' 


A few other plants are standing in the wings, poised to make a splash.

From left: Arctotis 'Pink Sugar', noID Narcissus, and Solanum xanti


I'll close with a photo of one of the poinsettias planted in a pot by the front door.  While the variegated poinsettia on the other side of the door is struggling, possibly in response to our colder than usually winter weather, this one seems unfazed.

The coral "petals" of this poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are actually bracts but they look almost like roses here


For a look at what's blooming elsewhere, visit Carol at May Dreams Garden, the host of the monthly event that is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

30 comments:

  1. Hi Kris, I am always amazed about the variety of blooming plants you have in your garden at any time of the year! My favorite today is the camellia. The bloom is truly perfection. I also like your lavenders quite a bit.
    As far as my garden goes it is looking pretty bleak right now. Most of the roses are leave- and flowerless, because they are deleaved and pruned. I didn't plant any annuals this winter at all, because I was afraid, that I wouldn't be able to keep them alive because of the drought and focused on planting perennials that are drought tolerant or at least somewhat drought resistant. But I really do miss the pansies and the violas...
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. I'm a sucker for pansies and violas, Christina. Every year, I promise I'm not going to plant any but I usually break down eventually. Warm temperatures and low rainfall have made them a bad bet the last few years but this year I figured that the cooler temperatures and El Nino rains made them a safer bargain; however, so far, the rains have been lighter than I'd hoped.

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  2. Kris, what a lovely look at your garden! Your blooms are all stunning. Camellias are one of my favorite shrubs, and 'Taylor's Perfection' is one that I want to add to my collection. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. 'Taylor's Perfection' is a gorgeous Camellia, Janice. I hope you can find it.

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  3. Your numerous blooms have me doing some California dreaming on this winter day. Everything seems so bright and colorful and the thought of being able to keep poinsettias outside is amazing to me. Happy GBBD!

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    1. Well, just one poinsettia is making it outside this year, Peter, but then we've had an unusually cold December and January.

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  4. Wow, your garden looks like it's early spring! And in Southern California it *is*. Beautiful.

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    1. It's actually been much colder than "normal" here, Gerhard. In previous years I've had Agapanthus and Hemerocallis blooming in January but not this year.

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  5. Replies
    1. I love those Iceland poppies too! In fact, I'm thinking of picking up a few more 6-packs to fill in some of the empty spots in my garden.

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  6. If Cuphea has the common name 'cigar plant' it's another one I've had as a houseplant. Those squirrels are a menace.

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    1. I've been trying to adopt a "live and let live" attitude toward the squirrels but they do make it difficult! I need one of those squirrel twirlers like the one you put up.

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  7. When we were in SoCal I got to see a blooming Bauhinia x blakeana at Seaside Gardens, it was wonderful and made me even more jealous that you've got one in your garden. Oh and I love your Calliandra haematocephala! I didn't comment on your Vase on Monday post (stupid iPad keeps crashing) but I loved it in the arrangement.

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    1. Neither the Bauhinia nor the Calliandra flowers last long in a vase but they are gorgeous in the garden, Loree.

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  8. Such a pleasure to see all the blooms in your garden, Kris. I imagine the extreme heat, drought and cold this past year has had an effect on your plants. But to this winter-bound girl, it still looks pretty darn good! :-)

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    1. There are definitely fewer flowers this January but SoCal is still more hospitable in winter than your climate, Eliza, at least in terms of temperature. You beat us in terms of precipitation I bet!

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  9. That coral poinsettia is lovely. Never seen such before.

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    1. I think the "rose"-flowered poinsettia is a relatively new introduction. I saw it for the first time last year. It is very pretty.

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  10. so many blooms! I love your flowering trees - there is always something so impressive to me to a whole tree covered in flowers!

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    1. Both the Bauhinia and the Arbutus are heavy bloomers, Renee, and a joy at this time of year in particular.

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  11. The fact that you have a poinsettia outside really shows the differences in our climates! I also find it really interesting that your Arbutus flowers over such a long period; the European varieties flower for a few weeks in autumn.

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    1. I grew Arbutus unedo, which I recall is what you planted, in my former garden. It didn't have the endless blooms of Arbutus 'Marina', which is a hybrid of A. unedo and A. andrachne so that may account for the difference, Christina. I can't precisely recall the bloom period of my A. unedo but I do remember it being much briefer. The tree bark was also markedly different. I lost A. unedo very suddenly when it was more than 15 years old, apparently as a result of the same pathogen that causes sudden oak death.

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  12. I love seeing your Bauhinia flowers, even if they are a little beat up. Lavandula multifida is a tempting plant. I found a couple sources saying it's hardy to zone 8, but most say zone 9. I'll probably have to continue appreciating it from afar.

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    1. Coincidentally, I picked up 3 more of these plants just today, although they were labeled as "Lavender California." The plant appears markedly more purple than the others I have but I'll have to see if that distinction holds when the plants get larger.

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  13. I'd love to find Lavandula multifida - such pretty foliage with the lavender blooms! I'll have to keep on looking as most of the lavenders available here are L. stoechas varieties. Your cuphea is wonderful, as is the Arbutus. A number of my plants also seem to be holding back their blooms; I'm blaming it on a prolonged cold snap, but we've had a rather dry winter overall as well.

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    1. I was growing a lot of the Spanish lavenders myself last year, Amy, but they don't seem as hardy here as the English lavenders so I've been gradually switching one for the other. L. multifida falls into another category altogether but it also does well here, although it gets ratty after 2-3 years and needs replacement.

      I keep thinking of this cold snap as unusual but current conditions are probably closer to "normal" here than the weather has been in the prior few years when spring arrived in the middle of winter.

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  14. Those little violas are very sweet. And I never tire of seeing the pink powder puffs.

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    1. I'm a sucker for pansies, big and small.

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